Lago Ripasottile

We drive on northwards past Rieti to the nature reserve Laghi Lungo e Ripasottile, turning off left down a gravelly road to the Reserve’s visitor centre, housed in an old electricity station. It is closed (due to earthquake damage, we are told the following morning), and the lakeside car park is almost empty, except for one curious couple who would love to take a look at the inside of Emma, so we invite them in for a chat and a drink. We share a few stories and they recommend us to go on a walk around the lake, apparently it’s teeming with wild life. The weather has turned from being just windy to actual rain, so after they leave, we fill our hot water bottles and settle in for the night.

This is another lovely spot to stay overnight (although the next morning we are told off for doing so by the park warden), so quiet and star-studded once the rain clouds have lifted, with the sounds of a nightingale drifting across the water. At dawn I wake to a chorus of a magnitude and variety I haven’t heard in a long time. I also hear a quiet sploshing and as I go out to take dawn photos, I see some water creature swimming by – might have been an otter or a beaver…


It rained heavily during the night and everything feels fresh this morning. The sun sparkles at us, so we start out anticlockwise around the lake. It is much larger than we anticipate… 90 minutes later we have reached the half way mark by the heron colonies. Frank experiments with taking pictures through the binoculars, resulting in photos that look like we’ve discovered a new planet!


Three hours later, we arrive back at Emma, tired and sodden from walking three hours through high grass and fields, but full of good spirits. What a beautiful morning this was!


For more photos of this chapter, click here.

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